Tuesday, September 16, 2003

No Arsenio

Last night on Comedy Central's Daily Show, Senator John Edwards formally announced that he's running for president. Which didn't change anything: anyone who didn't know he's running obviously hadn't watched any of the Democratic hopefuls' debates--which, come to think of it, no one has watched.

But it struck me as significant, a major announcement from a major (okay, minor) candidate on the The Daily Show. Has the show arrived? Or did it already? I confess it's something I rarely catch, living as I do in a cable-free household. But last night I trekked to the new band's practice space--which, oddly, has cable--to watch the show.

Edwards' appearance felt strange amid the wasteland of advertising surrounding this late-night comedy staple: spots for "Girls Gone Wild" tapes and the nasty-looking video game Midnight Club II. Hell, Edwards' appearance felt strange juxtaposed with the appearance of the evening's other celebrity, Cuba Gooding, Jr. But that's showbiz. Or more precisely, that's politics which, as someone said, is showbiz for ugly people.

Mostly I appreciated how host Jon Stewart reacted to Edwards' appearance. Stewart was gracious, humble and grateful, and if he mocked Edwards, he mocked gently. And self-effacingly: the most amusing thing about Edwards' appearance was the comedy routine that followed, a long harangue by correspondent Steven Colbert to the effect that Edwards' appearance spelled death for the candidate, given The Daily Show'sinsignificance. As Colbert said to Stewart, and I paraphrase, "Jon, you're no Arsenio."

What do y'all think of The Daily Show?

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